The Oyo State government has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with seven microfinance banks for the disbursement of N500m loans to small and micro-entrepreneurs (SMEs).
The move is part of the Sustainable Action for Economic Recovery (SAfER) put in place by the government to cushion the effects of the petrol subsidy removal.
Dotun Oyelade, the commissioner for information and orientation, told newsmen that transportation, healthcare insurance, food security and agriculture were already benefiting from palliatives by the state government.
On transportation, he said 46 buses have been provided out of which 31 of them ply intra-city routes in Ibadan, while the others ply other key towns in the state at reduced fares.
“This transportation project has been so successful that private transport owners have had to complain about the fare reduction in government buses.
On health, the SAfER Initiative has identified 50,000 pensioners as qualified to be enrolled in the Oyo State Health Insurance Agency (OYSHIA) free of charge, while 100,000 vulnerable residents would be enrolled for free treatment under the same scheme.
On food security, the government, he said, earmarked N1bn as loans for small-scale farmers and Youth Entrepreneurs and Agricultural businesses (YEAP) at N500m each, adding that the loans are being disbursed through financial institutions and the Agricultural Credit Corporation of Oyo State.
He said the first phase of SAfER which was the distribution of food items, reached the most vulnerable persons in the 33 local government areas of the state.
He, however, described the food distribution exercise as a testing ground that has thrown up its own challenges and success.
Oyelade said the government will, going forward, ensure that desperate and violent-minded people are not allowed to hijack the exercise from the organisers.
Recall that the organisers were overwhelmed in the Ibadan zone of the state and were forced to disperse the food items in their custody for fear of being lynched.
He, however, said that the items distribution went according to plan in other areas of the state.